Tisch School of the Arts Master of Professional Studies, May 2012 Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP)
Christina Asha Arnold was born in Bombay, India, to American parents, and spent the first 21 years of her life in South and Southeast Asia. She was deeply affected by the child exploitation she saw often—children forced to work in rock quarries, as street beggars, domestic servants and prostitutes for both tourists and locals. These early experiences informed her life choices, fostering a desire to channel her outrage to passionately give voice to vulnerable children and victims of exploitation in her work as an anti-human trafficking advocate.
Christina is the President of Prevent Human Trafficking (PHT) Inc., a non-governmental organization she founded in 1999. PHT supports a handful of innovative grassroots human rights organizations working in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to directly assist victims of human trafficking and severe exploitation. Through creating short videos, PHT has helped to raise over one million dollars for its partner organizations in Southeast Asia. This funding has been used to build shelters and enhance protection programs for at-risk street children. It has also provided men, women and children viable economic options in the form of micro-credit loans and scholarships to prevent them from being trafficked due to their economic vulnerability. In addition, PHTs annual summer program in Thailand has provided hundreds of participant’s unique access to some of Southeast Asia’s pre-eminent scholars, activists, organizers, and government officials working at the forefront of the global anti-trafficking movement. The program is designed to cultivate a deeper understanding of systemic causes of trafficking and an opportunity to examine the real implications of US foreign policies while traveling extensively throughout the region. Christina has mentored, advised and provided internship placements for more than 50 American and international students.
Christina has consulted to the U.S. Department of State; Microsoft Corporation; the Royal Thai Embassy (U.S.), the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and private foundations. She is a consultant and peer reviewer for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grants program. Christina has delivered over 100 lectures on human trafficking issues both in the US and overseas to American and foreign activists, officials, dignitaries, and academics. Her expertise has contributed to policy and legislative change, such as the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000.
Christina's greatest mentor on her professional life, has been Khun Mechai Viravaidya (aka Thailand's "Condom King") an extraordinarily effective social entrepreneur whose unflagging energy, creativity and innovative common-sense solutions to the problems of the rural poor in Thailand constantly challenge and inspire her. She is currently developing a documentary tribute in honor of his 70th birthday. Through her work, Christina developed a profound appreciation for how technology can communicate the character and actions of people –survivors and their advocates alike –and in turn, inspire others to positive action. At NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' Interactive Technology Program (ITP) she hopes to acquire the technical skills to capture and tell stories of innovation, empowerment and resilience. Christina is excited to develop new strategies and solutions to prevent human trafficking as a Reynolds fellow by using a combination of vlogging, mixed media and mobile technology. She is eager to harness what she learns to empower, inspire, collaborate and innovate in her field.
As a single parent, Christina has simultaneously built PHT and pursued her daughter's education, and her own, through the generosity of several universities and foundations, including the New York University (NYU) Reynolds Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship, 2010; the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Departmental Award; the Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship; the American University, School of Public Affairs, 2008-2010 Graduate Honor Award; and the Harry S. Truman Scholarship.